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Wren's Spring Renewal Challenge


Wren

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Over the winter I got lazy and stopped taking care of myself.  I ate poorly, stopped yoga, and only walked occasionally.  Now I am paying for it.  My digestive issues are back, I hurt pretty much all of the time, and I have recently been forced to admit that I am skinny fat.  I plan to use this challenge to start to get back to where I was.  My focus will be getting my health issues under control. 


 


Fitness Goals:


 


  1. Practice yoga five days a week.  Past experience has shown that regular yoga practice is the best way to manage my fibromyalgia.  It also helps with stress, which will be important as I head into the busy season at work.  Grading: A - Practice yoga 30 times; B - Practice yoga 25 - 29 times; C - Practice yoga 20-24 times;  D - Practice yoga 15-19 times; F - Practice yoga less than 15 times
  2. Eliminate dairy from my diet.  Dairy is one of the things that causes digestive issues for me. In the first three weeks, I will look for alternatives to commonly used dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.  In the last three weeks of the challenge I will focus on eating dairy-free.  This gives me time to do my research, but also gives me a definite time to switch from a research focus to a focus on fixing the problem. I haven't figured out the grading scale for this one.  It may end up as pass or fail.  Either I go dairy-free in the last three weeks and pass or I don't.
  3. Practice handstands for five minutes, five days a week.  This one is just for fun.  I like the idea of being able to do a handstand.  When I was younger I took gymnastics, but I was never good at handstands.  Now I can't stay up for even a second.  I want to do this so that I can say I have finally accomplished something that has been a challenge for me since I was a kid.  I may not make it to a full handstand by the end of this challenge, so I have decided to use the practice to set my goal rather than accomplishing a handstand.  Grading: A - Practice handstands 30 times; B - Practice handstands 25 - 29 times; C - Practice handstands 20-24 times;  D - Practice handstands 15-19 times; F - Practice handstands less than 15 times

 


Life Goal:


 


  1. Complete the Kamana One study.  I have purchased the Kamana One materials for the Kamana Naturalist Training Program.  I am good at my job, but I feel that my naturalist skills are one area that could use some improvement.  I have heard good things about this program.  The training is divided into four parts and Kamana One, the first part, is supposed to take 4-6 weeks.  That makes it perfect for the challenge.  I will set up the grading for this challenge once I have a better understanding of how the course is supposed to work

 


Starting stats:


Height: 5'2"


Weight:  127 lbs.


Waist: 28.5"


Body fat %: 28% (figured using an online calculator)


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On Monday, I practiced yoga and handstands.  I also read the introduction to my Kamana One course.  Just doing the yoga helped a lot.  I slept better than I have in a while.    For the handstand practice, I am doing a kick up but stabilizing against a wall.  I am not attempting a freestanding handstand yet.  I want to get comfortable with being upside down while stabilized before attempting it with no stabilizer.  I also think this will help me get used to how hard I need to kick.  I did notice that after the handstand practice my hip felt sore.  I am worried that if I end up with hip pain after every practice, I will have to replace that goal with a different one.  For now I am going to continue practice.  If after a week or two of exercise and yoga, I still get that pain after handstand practice, I will look at replacing it with something different. 


 


I also looked at my dairy intake for the day.  Dinner was a casserole that had cream of chicken soup and cheese.  Removing the cheese will not make much of a difference, but I wasn't sure what to do about the cream of chicken soup.  After a quick internet search I found several different dairy-free cream of chicken soup recipes.  This will add more work to my casseroles, but it will be worth it if it can fix my stomach problems. 


 


So far today I have done my yoga practice and the morning section of lesson one for Kamana.  In the past I have used Gaiam TV's streaming workout videos.  When I moved a year and a half ago, the only internet available was HughesNet, which has data allowances, so I dropped my Gaiam subscription.  Now that I have a better understanding of what my data allowance will cover, I plan to use Gaiam TV again.  By using it first thing in the morning, the data will come out of my bonus data, which barely gets used anyway (it is available from 2-8 am).  Gaiam has added guides since I was last on there.  These guides are sets of workouts that you are supposed to do, one each day.  The workouts vary in skill level and length, but I like the idea of just getting up and doing whichever practice is listed next.  For my first guide I chose Sunrise and Shine, which is a 21-day guide dedicated to morning practice.  I did the first one this morning.  It was 42 minutes long and the level listed was intermediate, so I was a little worried, but decided to do it anyway.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Towards the end I started to struggle and I didn't even attempt the forearm stand, but overall I did much better than expected.  I have always stuck to beginner practices, so I think the guide will be good at helping me get out of my comfort zone.


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I did end up doing my handstand practice on Tuesday before bed, but I didn't practice yesterday.  I did practice tonight.  I decided to give my hip a rest yesterday, but I didn't want to miss two days in a row.  I can see some progress even with just a few days of regular practice.  I am starting to feel hopeful that I will be able to do a handstand by the end of this challenge.  If I hold a 15 second freestanding handstand, I will consider it an automatic pass.  That may be a bit too optimistic, but it is what I am trying for.

 

I did yoga yesterday morning and this morning.  This Gaiam TV guide is really pushing me.  The one this morning said it was for all levels, but I was really struggling by the end.  That's good though.  For a long time I just stuck to my same old beginner routine.  This is really forcing me to grow in my practice.

 

I am starting to notice how much cheese is a part of my diet.  I am going to have to find a good, non-dairy cheese substitute.  I am afraid that might be a little hard considering I live in a small town with limited shopping options, but I will just have to see what I can find. 

 

I have completed three lessons in my Kamana One course.  I am learning that I don't pay nearly enough attention to the world around me.  Instead I drift from one place to the next with my head stuck in the clouds.  This study is really making me focus.  So far I really like the activities and I can already see some areas that are going to need extra work.  That's okay, I am committed to this, even if I am going to have to work much harder at it than I originally thought.

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I am super impressed with the handstand training. When I was a kid I would do them every night and now I'm not sure if I could even kick up.

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Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the high road to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.

~Margaret Thatcher

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Last time I tried to do a handstand I broke things (when I fell on them). Lol.

 

I'd never heard of Gaiam TV so I'm checking it out now. 

 

For cheese... what about sprinkling a little shredded parmesan on veggies to get your cheese fix? And at the same time, explore other herbs/seasonings until you find one that gives you the same kick that cheese does. 

 

Following you for the A&S mini 

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Salambander - unfortunately parmesan still has dairy and I need to eliminate dairy completely.  


 


This week has been a little crazy, so I am going to do a summary of the whole week since I haven't posted anything for a few days. 


 


  1. Practice yoga at least five days a week.  I have actually practiced all eight days of the challenge.  The guide I am following is meant to be done daily, so that's what I've been doing.  It has been really interesting.  I am learning a lot about the different styles of yoga.  In the past I have mostly stuck to beginner vinyasa or restorative hatha yoga.  This practice has me doing different levels as well as different styles.  The first time I tried a kundalini practice I thought I was going to drop at the end.  I have done full length aerobic workouts that didn't take that much effort.  This has been a great way to advance in my practice. 
  2. Eliminate dairy.  The first three weeks were meant to be research weeks, with the last three weeks being the elimination weeks, but I think I am going to change that.  I am going to go ahead and eliminate cheese and yogurt.  I have already replaced regular milk with almond milk, so that is not an issue.  This leaves figuring out what things I eat that have hidden dairy.  I hope to go through my cabinets this week to find the things that have dairy that I hadn't thought of yet. Next week I will start the dairy elimination.
  3. Practice handstands five days a week.  This has been going very well.  I have been practicing two days and then taking one day off.  I am advancing fairly well.  Last night I held a freestanding handstand for three seconds.  The only problem was when I kicked up my feet tapped off of the wall before I pulled myself straight.  If there hadn't been a wall there I would have fallen over.  So I need to practice kick strength.  Still I think that is pretty good for only one week of practice.
  4. Work on my Kamana One study.  This has been difficult.  There have been times that I thought I was never going to get it.  There have also been a few lessons that just clicked and I got it.  Sadly, there has been more confusion than clicking, but it is a work in progress.  I may end up going through this twice before I move to the next level.  That's okay.  I am still enjoying it and I think it will be very helpful in the future.  It definitely makes me think about things in a different way. 

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Exercise is not an option - it is a requirement.


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Ah I understand. Good luck!

Level 1 Dwarven Ranger

STR 0 | DEX 0 | CON | STA 0 | WIS 0 |CHA 0 

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The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. - Arthur C Clarke

 

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I have not been updating like I planned.  A few unexpected things have kept me from being as active on the boards as I had planned to be this challenge.  Still I am getting things done; I'm just not writing about them. So here is the week in review.


 


  1. Practice yoga 5 days a week.  I have continued to practice yoga everyday as part of the Gaiam guide.  I am really enjoying it.  I also am starting to notice improved flexibility and less pain.  Yoga has always been my go-to exercise for pain management and it certainly hasn't let me down during this challenge.  I am also sleeping better, which helps a lot.  Progress so far: 14 of 30 practices completed. 
  2. Eliminate dairy.  I have found a few more things that I eat regularly that have milk or dairy products.  I am having to rethink a few of my normal food choices, but that is good.  I really think that I will feel better at the end of this.  This week, as planned, I did not have any cheese or yogurt.  Next week I plan to go completely dairy-free.
  3. Practice handstands 5 days a week.  I am doing okay with this.  I have been practicing regularly and I am seeing some improvement.  A few times I have been able to kickup and hold a two second handstand without needing the wall at all.  It's not great, but it has only been two weeks, so I think it is decent progress.  I am still hopeful that I will be able to hold a handstand by the end of this challenge.
  4. I have almost completed the second part (of three) for my Kamana One study.  I realized that I am better at some things than I realized, but also that there are some things that I am worse than expected.  This has been an interesting experience so far.  One that has taught me not just how to be more aware of the natural world around me, but also has made me more aware of who I am.  I was not expecting to learn so much about myself during this process. 

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What is kamana? I've never heard of it till now.

Level 1 Dwarven Ranger

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The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. - Arthur C Clarke

 

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Salambander - The full name is Kamana Naturalist Training.  It is a home study course from the Wilderness Awareness School.  IT is supposed to help yo gain a deeper connection with and understanding of nature.  It is also helpful for those who want to help others for these connections.  I work in the environmental education field as an interpretive naturalist, so I felt that this would be very beneficial for my work.  The Kamana training has four levels.  I am working on the first one.

 

I have been doing pretty good this week despite major allergy problems.

 

  1. Practice yoga 5 days a week.  I have kept up my yoga practice. Progress so far: 17 of 30 practices completed. This puts me slightly above where I need to be to complete this my needed total by the end of week six.
  2. Eliminate dairy.  So far I have not had any dairy this week.  I have been tempted a time or two, but I keep reminding myself that the moment of enjoyment is not worth what it will do to my body.
  3. Practice handstands 5 days a week.  I continue to progress.  I can now kick up and hold a 2-3 second handstand fairly regularly.  Even if I don't hold a handstand for 15 seconds by the end of this challenge, I can already feel a difference in my upper body strength, so it has been worth it.  So far I have completed 14 of 30 practices.
  4. I have completed the second part (of three) for my Kamana One study.  I am not starting on the third part.  This one takes more time per lesson, so my progress has slowed down a little.  I still think I can finish it by the end of the six week challenge.      

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Exercise is not an option - it is a requirement.


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AresPandora - Right now I am not planning to do the whole thing, but that may change in the future.  I do want to complete the first two at least.  

 

Today I had a real challenge for my diary free goal.  Lunch was from a concession stand and one of the options was BBQ nachos, which I love, but of course they are covered in cheese.  Most of the other people were getting them and they looked great.  I am proud to say that although I was tempted, in the end I got the chicken sandwich instead.  So I am still on track.

Pixie Adventurer


Exercise is not an option - it is a requirement.


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This past week has been chaotic.  I am keeping up with my goals, but didn't get on the forums at all.  So here is my progress for this week.


 


  1. Practice yoga 5 days a week.  I have finished my first 21-day yoga guide on GaiamTV and have started my second one.  Because it is set up to be done daily, I am well ahead of my goal.  The only day that I am not counting is May 2.  Although I completed that day's video, it was actually a guided meditation rather than a yoga practice.   Still, I have completed 26 of 30 practices.
  2. Eliminate dairy.  I messed up with this one a bit by not reading a label when I should have.  I had some flavored instant oatmeal.  The flavors were banana bread and maple brown sugar.  I never thought about them containing milk, but apparently they added whey isolate so that it would have more protein.  Aside from two bowls of oatmeal, I have been dairy free for two weeks.  I have turned down some really good food, but it is worth it if I can feel better.
  3. Practice handstands 5 days a week.  I am not making a lot of progress with this one.  I can consistently kick up and hold a 2-3 second handstand, but I can't seem to move past that stage.   The lack of progress makes me want to practice more so that I can get past this plateau.   So far I have completed 22 of 30 practices.
  4. I have four chapters (of eight) in section three of my Kamana One study. Although each chapter takes longer to complete than the chapters in part two, I am doing okay.  If I can keep my schedule of two chapters per week, I will still finish by the end of this challenge.
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Exercise is not an option - it is a requirement.


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The challenge has ended so it is time for the final summary. 


 


At times this seemed like the worst time to start a six week challenge.  I had very little time to post or stay active on the forums, so it felt like I wasn't getting everything out of the challenge that I might could have.  Other times I was reminded that this was a great time to start a challenge.  Even though I was busy, the fact that I knew I would have to post my progress (or lack of progress) kept me exercising even when I was tired or felt like I didn't have time.  This has helped me get back in the habit of exercising and taking care of myself. 


 


Fitness Goals:


 


  1. Practice yoga at least five times a week.  I did very well on this goal.  I subscribed to a couple of Gaiam TV yoga guides and managed to practice yoga almost every day of the challenge.  I didn't count one day because the video they had for the guide that day was meditation instead of yoga.  Still, I am sleeping better, in much less  pain, and starting to regain my flexibility.  I hadn't noticed how stiff I was getting until I started practicing yoga again.  Final total: Practiced yoga 41 days during this challenge.  Grade: A+
  2. Eliminate dairy from my diet.  This has been very difficult.  I have been tempted by bbq nachos, homemade brownies, and Mexican food covered in cheese.  I had to constantly remind myself that I would feel better by not eating all of that stuff.  So far I have been dairy-free for four weeks.  Grade: A
  3. Practice handstands at least five times each week.  At the end of this challenge, I have only managed to hold a handstand for five seconds, but that is still a lot better than where I was when I started.   I can feel the difference in my upper body strength.  Final total: Practiced handstands 35 days during this challenge.  Grade: A+

 


Life Goal:


  1. Complete the Kamana One study.  This is the one goal that I didn't fully accomplish.  I still have 2.5 chapters left in the study.  As life got more and more busy, this was one of the things that I just never quite seemed to get to.  I still plan to finish it, it will just take a little longer than originally planned.  Grade: B-

 


Overall, I think I did well on this challenge.  It really helped me stay motivated as I worked to get back in the habit of healthy exercise and diet.  I am glad that I participated in this challenge even though it was one more thing to do in a long list of things that I needed to get done.


 


Ending Stats:


Height: 5'2"


Weight:  122 lbs. (down 5 lbs.)


Waist: 28" (down .5")


Body fat %: 28% (didn't change)


Pixie Adventurer


Exercise is not an option - it is a requirement.


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